It’s a bit different than his usual brand of jazz, but Detroit-born saxophonist James Carter has made it a holiday tradition to come home and play some some gypsy-style music with the local Hot Club of Detroit.
“I’ve found myself at home with the whoel gypsy/acoustic clique,” says Carter, 39. “It’s always good to be able to tip back in there. It feels like a musical campfire, minus the smores. In lieu of it they put out wine.”
The gypsy gig will cap what’s been a busy year for Carter. He released his 13th album, “Present Tense” and performed at the Detroit International Jazz Festival. He’s also working on a saxophone concerto with Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra.
This weekend, however, he’ll be happily ensconsed in gypsy jazz styles popularized by Django Reinhardt.
“We wind up laying stuff that’s more ’30s and ’40s,” Cartner notes. “I choose to go into (Reinhardt’s) repertoire ... just because of seeing how much of the stuff he has written and how it kind of parallels what was going on during his times.
“He’s a case in point as far as the void was concerned, because of the outbreak of (World War II). Everybody went amplified over here during the war, and it took him awhile to catch up because of the war and the recording band that was imposed in the early ’40s. He wasn’t able to catch wind of what else was going on, so he worked in a vacuum, which made for some fascinating music — to listen to and to revisit as a player.”
James Carter and the Hot Club of Detroit perform at 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Dec. 19-20) at Cliff Bell’s, 2030 Park St., Detroit. Cover is $15. Call (313) 961-2543 or visit www.cliffbells.com.